The Resource Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers

Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers

Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1774-1827
Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers
Inclusive dates
  • Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers, 1774-1827, are criminal court cases and other criminal papers that consist primarily of warrants, summons, subpoenas, indictments, recognizances, and verdicts handed down by grand juries and other legal authorities in order to prosecute individuals who violated the penal code. These offenses ranged in severity from murder, rape, assault and battery, and larceny to tax evasion, slander, liquor law violations, prostitution, and contempt of court. Criminal offenders and victims who appear in cases prior to the abolition of slavery in Virginia in 1865 included both free and enslaved persons
  • Significant cases include a cause dated 1786 April against, Bob and Sam, two slaves who had confessed to murdering their master Joseph Baker with an ax and another case, dated 1774 December, that saw slave Romeo accused of attempting to kill his master William Campbell. Also included are several cases of treason against people who publicly declared themselves as Tory or who refused to lift arms against the King of Great Britain. One such case, dated 1779 April, accuses John Henderson of entering into a conspiracy to seize the public magazines and use them to lay waste to Montgomery County
  • Warrants were issued by grand juries, judges, and justices of the peace directing law enforcement officials to either arrest and imprison a person suspected of having committed a crime or to cause an individual to appear in court to answer accusations made against them. Peace warrants directing an offender to keep the peace of the Commonwealth or to restrain from any violent acts are commonly found in assault and battery cases
  • Summonses were used to call a suspected person to appear in court. A summons could also be issued to direct witnesses or victims to come before the court in order to provide evidence or information deemed pertinent to a case. Subpoenas were also used to order witnesses to court to give evidence
  • An indictment is the official, written description of the crime that an accused individual is suspected of committing, which is approved by a grand jury and presented to a court in order to begin legal proceedings. Due to this process, indictments are often referred to as presentments
  • Verdicts are the formal pronouncements made by juries on issues submitted to them by a judge or other law enforcement official. In the case of a guilty verdict, a judge will sentence the offender. Sentences may include a fine, corporal punishment, and/or imprisonment
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Montgomery County was formed from Fincastle County in 1776, and the county court first met on 7 January 1777. Part of Botetourt County was added in 1790. Part of Pulaski County was added in 1842. The county was named for Richard Montgomery, who was killed in the American assault on Quebec late in 1775.
  • Fincastle County was created from Botetourt County in 1772, and the county court first met on 5 January 1773. Fincastle County became extinct on 31 December 1776 when it was divided to form Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties. The county was named probably for George, Viscount Fincastle, Lord Dunmore's son; for John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, Viscount Fincastle; or for the town of Fincastle, Virginia, which was established in 1772 and named for George, Viscount Fincastle.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • Additional Montgomery County Court Records can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records on Microfilm" found on the library's website.
  • Additional Montgomery County Commonwealth Causes can be found at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Montgomery County (Va.) Commonwealth Causes and Criminal Papers
These items came to the Library of Virginia in a transfer of court papers from Montgomery County
Arranged by ended court date then alphabetically by defendant surname.
  • The Library of Virginia
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
Terms governing use
There are no restrictions.
Type of unit
cu. ft.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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